Going west of Mississippi got a faulty kind of hippy
And you don't risk the franchise and you don't want to panic
If the young kid wants to drop his pads on down
(Thanks, and apologies, to Dar Williams)
This one's for you, Ken D! My thoughts? At least Rick doesn't have any more hips to injure.
Seriously, though, I know there's a wide range of feelings about the latest catastrophe to befall the Isles. It's completely reasonable to be worried about whether DiPietro is going to get anywhere near playing 13 more years after breaking down two years in a row at the tender age of 26. His fun-in-the-sun months will once again be spent in intense physical rehabilitation. Rick knows no other way but intense, which he demonstrated by entering the 2007-08 season in stellar condition.
I can't get caught up in worrying about what's going to be eight years from now. Here's what I know: Over the first three and half months of this season, DiPietro played the best hockey of his career and inspired new levels of confidence in large portions of the fan base on a repaired hip. That hip, as far as we know, remains fine. The other hip, which dragged DiPietro down from All-Star to sub-par will now be similarly repaired. I am hopeful that this one will come back just as strong as the other one.
Is playing goalie in the NHL too much stress for two surgically repaired hips? It's certainly possible. For now, I am choosing to be optimistic. I am relieved to believe once again that the DiPietro we saw in the first half is the real deal, and the one we saw in the second half was sorely compromised. There is precedent for elite athletes to come back from significant surgeries and go on to have uninterrupted, successful careers. Since we don't have much of a choice, let's hitch our wagon to that idea. Because, as I said, it's not as though he can freshly injure another hip (although a three-hipped goalie would really be something). The fixed one held up. If he re-injures one of them, yeah, then I'll be very concerned. Otherwise, Rick can simply look forward to when his hips can vote in 2025 and 2026.
By the way, I don't know why the writer(s) at Rotoworld sometimes refer to DiPietro as "Dippy," but I wish they would stop. It is not an acceptable alternative to DP or Dipi. I also acknowledge that there are more complex issues surrounding this injury, such as the potential disaster of the contract, how much Rick should really play during the season, and whether the team handled the injury properly. We have plenty of time to kick those around.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008